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President Barack Obama stands with people who support the Affordable Care Act, his signature health-care law, as he speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over Mr. Obama’s health-care law forced about one million federal workers off the job, suspending all but essential services. (AP)
President Barack Obama stands with people who support the Affordable Care Act, his signature health-care law, as he speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over Mr. Obama’s health-care law forced about one million federal workers off the job, suspending all but essential services. (AP)

WHAT READERS THINK

Oct. 2: Remaking the U.S. – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Remake the country

Re From A Spending Shutdown To A Debt Showdown (Oct. 1): I’ve always thought it ironic, in a particularly Canadian way, that part of my taxes go to maintaining the Bloc Québécois in Parliament, so they can exploit the federal system in their continuing attempts to break up the country and remake it their way.

My thanks to U.S. Republicans for helping me to feel that Canada is not so unique in this respect.

John Lazarus, Kingston

.........

Considering the mess created by the paralysis of the government south of the border, who would still want to model our Senate on theirs and create here even the possibility of the kind of deadlock we are witnessing in the U.S.?

The long and tedious debate over the so-called triple-E Senate should now be over. If anything, abolish the darned thing.

Bill Piket, White Rock, B.C.

.........

Re ‘Unthinkable’ Government Shutdown Sends One Million U.S. Workers Home (Oct. 1): The land of freedom and democracy – but the Statue of Liberty is closed.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

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This is Canada’s chance. The Americans’ force fields are down. We’ve got ’em where we want ’em.

Let’s pick up our hockey sticks, slingshots and pellet guns and march across the border to claim the gridlocked country to the south as our own. Soon, they’ll all be wearing tuques, eating butter tarts, drinking better beer, talking metric and voting NDP. They won’t know what hit them.

Neil Chapman, Jacksons Point, Ont.

.........

Financial hit on vets

Re Disabled Veterans Will Suffer Financially Under New Compensation Plan, Report Warns (online, Sept. 29): To quote a friend, “The Tories put sensible limits on their emotions: They love babies until they’re born, and soldiers until they come home.”

James Russell, Ottawa

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Canada’s song

Re Why Margaret Atwood Wants To Change The Lyrics Of O Canada (Oct. 1): “In all thy girls command.” Would Canadians stand for that? If not, why support “In all thy sons command?”

Our national anthem excludes half the population. Fact.

Suzanne Kingsmill, Toronto

.........

I’m with Margaret Atwood and others who want to delete the sexist “our sons command” language from the national anthem. While we’re at it, let’s take the religious “God keep our land” out, and fix the “native land” bit.

And take that cross out of the Quebec national assembly. Let’s really clean house this time, in both official languages, and get people frothing from sea to sea (to sea). Winter’s coming.

Robin Collins, Ottawa

.........

Instead of twisting ourselves into gender-neutral knots, why don’t we just sing the soaring second verse of Robert Weir’s version of O Canada?

Surely we couldn’t go wrong with lines like “O Canada! Where pines and maples grow. Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow.”

The lovely, heroic French version, which we Anglophones should learn, could either follow or precede the pines, maples and prairies.

R. B. Fleming, Argyle, Ont.

.........

BlackBerry payday

I am truly horrified that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins could potentially end up with a $55-million golden parachute if he loses his job in the event of a takeover.

After reading Inside The Fall Of Blackberry (Report on Business, Sept. 26), I think the board should give him the boot – and pay him in unsold Z10s.

Mary Jane Wood, Burlington, Ont.

.........

Gone to pot?

Re Medical Pot Is A Sham (Oct. 1): As a psychiatrist who treats those with severe mental illness, I was disappointed at the suggestion in the last paragraph of Margaret Wente’s column that little could go wrong if you smoked marijuana.

Several recent articles in British medical journals highlight the harm that can come from marijuana, especially among those who suffer from mental illness. Marijuana is neither safe nor benign. It raises the risk of relapse in those suffering from psychosis.

The slang term form marijuana, dope, really does have a basis in fact and the facts are sorely missing from our current understanding and discussion of this seemingly innocent drug.

Craig Hudson, MD, Goderich, Ont.

.........

For thousands of years, and all over the world, cannabis and its extracts were highly valued therapeutic aids for the treatment of a variety of conditions and ailments.

In fact, only in 1947 – under pressure from Harry Aslinger and the prohibition agency of the U.S. government – did cannabis come out of the U.S. pharmacopeia.

Seen from the long view, the period from 1947 to the present is anomalous: The first time cannabis has not been recognized for its medicinal properties.

Craig Jones, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada

.........

Beauty is the beast

Re Beauty And L’Etat (editorial, Sept. 30): That self-esteem is either a pro or a con in the discussion of child beauty pageants is the saddest part. It shows how much young women internalize from birth the pop cultural messages that their only value is in their attractiveness to men.

Lectures about “leaning in,” or whatever the pop-psych catchphrase of the week may be, are less powerful than the relentless bombardment of messages that their bodies are all that count.

We are so used to this that it becomes invisible, hence The Globe’s editorial message.

Julie Beddoes, Toronto

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Choosing Wisely

Re Is That Treatment Really Necessary? (Sept. 30): I serve as a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation board of directors, who created the Choosing Wisely campaign in the United States.

Choosing Wisely is an initiative to encourage conversations between physicians and patients about unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments – ones that do not add value for patients and may even cause harm.

We’ve recently started Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC), in affiliation with the Canadian Medical Association. The CWC campaign is working with Canadian medical societies to create lists of tests, procedures and treatments for which there is excellent evidence of overuse and possible harm to patients. More isn’t always better.

Wendy Levinson, chair, Choosing Wisely Canada; chair, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

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Hmm …

Re Inspecting The Troops (Oct 1): I presume the Royal Twenty-twoth Regiment is part of the Dental Corps?

Kenn Doerksen, Kingston

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